Running forWard 4 Alderman
Running as Non-Partisan Election
Mark Flanders is a Candidate for Ward 4 Alderman – Manchester, NH. He is a lifelong resident of the city and has lived in the ward for 42 years. Mark is married to Stephanie Flanders. Their children are Adam and Brooke Flanders, Central High Graduates. Adam is a graduate of the University of Arizona and Brooke is a graduate student at Boston College. Mark retired in 2021 after working 42 years for Fortune 500 Companies in the Insurance Industry as an insurance investigator and manager. Since retiring he has been volunteering and acting for Manchester Community Theatre.
Prior candidate for School Board
Time lived in NHI am a lifelong resident of the city and have lived in Ward 4 for 41 years.
Notre Dame College, B.A.
Hesser College, A.A.
Best way to contact candidate603-641-9744.
Why are you running for this office?
I am running for office because I love this city and am proud to be from here. If elected, I will be an advocate for and responsive to the residents of Ward 4. This great city lacks good governance and is headed in the wrong direction. I want to be a part of the positive change to city government necessary to right the ship and rejuvenate the city.
What qualifies you as the best candidate for this office?
I believe my passion for the city, private sector experience, life experience, being a husband and father qualifies me as the best candidate. Also, being a lifelong resident of Manchester gives me perspective. I would be genuinely dedicated to this position and my top priority is to improve the city. I am retired and eager to dedicate my free time to serving the city.
What are your thoughts on and plans for addressing homelessness?
Homelessness is not unique to Manchester, it is societal and deeply systemic. I cannot claim to be wise enough to solve homelessness. With that said, we must make this a priority. Manchester’s numbers relative homelessness are not generated from Manchester residents alone. City government must fiscally and humanely address the homelessness issue. In my opinion, the current administration has exacerbated the problem. If elected, I will work to make the city more liveable for everyone. This includes the residents, businesses and those experiencing homelessness. The stakeholders in the city government are obligated to provide the necessary housing, resources, support and fiscally responsible funding to resolve homelessness. This starts with strengthened and more accessible mental health care, substance abuse treatment, a living wage, and affordable housing. People experiencing homelessness must be treated with dignity and respect. They should be given the support and tools to aid their efforts in finding employment and shelter. Every human deserves food, shelter, and medical care. We must be empathetic and compassionate as we work to make Manchester a city full of opportunities where people want to be a part of this community. We cannot continue to do business the same as the city deteriorates. I believe we all want and can do better in addressing homelessness, it affects everyone. This can be accomplished by listening to and working with all city stakeholders, not just some.
What are your thoughts on housing costs and plans for addressing those concerns?
Housing and rental costs are out of control. Why shouldn’t home ownership be an option to people vs renting? Our youth cannot afford to own and struggle to save money because of incredibly high rental costs. Again, this is a problem not unique to Manchester. Poverty, inadequate wages, high interest rates and property taxes are just a part of the problem. How can we expect people experiencing homelessness to see a future here when even if they work hard, they still may not be able to afford shelter? There are so many factors contributing to the high cost of housing. But before we can do anything, there has to be definitions to the terms. For example, what is the dollar amount considered to be affordable housing? Once we define that term along with others we can then develop a plan on how to make housing available and affordable to all. Enforcement of The Federal Fair Housing Act and NH RSA 354-A are a means to address our housing inequities. We must focus on making housing affordable for all residents before we continue to build luxury apartments. Ensuring everyone’s basic needs are met is more important than catering to those who are already in a position of wealth and privilege. This only strengthens the economic divide in our city. This is an important subject to me, I will do anything in my power to correct the injustices of unavailable, inadequate, and/or unaffordable housing.
What are your thoughts on and plans regarding crime and public safety?
What are your thoughts on and/or plans for addressing concerns about property tax rates?
Affordable Property Tax Reform- Manchester has a spending problem. I will protect and uphold the Tax Cap. As someone coming in from the private sector who has worked on large budgets, I will review the line items of the city budget and advocate to redirect excess spending into underfunded programs. I will also look for financial efficiencies to save money and properly fund Manchester’s needs. We must reprioritize spending that upholds the Tax Cap and prioritizes the city’s needs. We must return to common sense responsible spending that helps our residents, improves infrastructure and addresses the housing shortage.
What are your thoughts on the city's snow removal and trash pickup services?
What are your thoughts on the city's small business climate?
Small business is the backbone of the city’s economy. We need to attract and support small businesses in order for our city to flourish. Unfortunately, over the past year several locally owned restaurants have closed. Other small businesses have threatened, voiced concerns over the condition of downtown and attracting customers. The SNHU is not the venue it once was by attracting people to the downtown which generated business. Some would say that people from out-of-town aren’t comfortable coming to Manchester. The bottom line here is we need to support small businesses so that they can continue to contribute to the identity, economy and revitalization of Manchester.
What are your thoughts on and plans on improving the city's medium and large business climate?
There are many areas that need to be addressed before we can even begin to think about attracting medium or large sized companies to Manchester. We must immediately address homelessness and drug use that our city is experiencing, along with the shortage of housing, which in turn, creates a shortage in the workforce needed for new and existing businesses. In addition, a great school system attracts population and business. Our public schools are underperforming, which unfortunately is highlighted by the fact that the Manchester School District has been ranked near the bottom when compared to all school districts throughout the state. Also, we need to streamline the permitting and building process to attract new medium and large businesses. You just can’t expect to attract medium and large sized businesses to Manchester until we start making some kind of headway at correcting these issues. Manchester just can’t afford to continue to ignore these issues any longer. We must act now!
What are your thoughts on and plans on improving parks and recreation in the city?
The Manchester Parks and Recreation Department is an asset to the city. In my opinion, they are underfunded and understaffed given their vast responsibilities. I believe Recreation should be converted to a separate department called The Recreation Department. This will offer a lot more recreational choice alternatives to our residents and students. Increased and quality recreational programs for youth will positively impact their future and set them up for success. In addition, I would add Performing Arts to the Recreation Department. Hunt Memorial Pool has been closed for two years. This is an area of the city that needs a pool the most. It is not fair to the residents and youth of the inner city and is unacceptable. Lastly, the condition of some of our city parks needs some care and improvement. All of the above can be accomplished by properly funding and staffing of the department.
What are your thoughts on how public transportation and infrastructure in the city can be improved?
Accessibility, safety, and affordability are the keys for a successful transit system in any City. And, with the often quoted “2,000 new housing units” in the works for Manchester, we had better get moving on making substantial improvements to our transit system, as traffic on our downtown streets will be in a state of gridlock with most of this new housing being downtown. Improved public transportation will also make employment more accessible. In terms of infrastructure, the conditions of some of our roads are not good. While it’s understood there are bonding and time schedules relative to the repairs, we should be spending more now to save later due to their current condition. Lastly, Commuter Rail, I think this is a great idea provided all of the funding comes from the federal and state governments not the City of Manchester.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the city's civic pride and ideas on how to improve it?
Personally, I have immense pride in Manchester. It is a unique city. We are situated in one of the least diverse and most rural states in the country, yet Manchester flourishes with diversity, culture, and business. We are different from the state that surrounds us, but that does not mean we should be looked down upon for it. Our population comes from such varied backgrounds, and we have so much to learn from each other and to offer the state. Manchester is a hard working city. Many of us have not had life handed to us. We are gritty and tough. We are smart and rich in life experience. If you want to live somewhere ritzy and bland, Manchester may not be the place for you, but for those of us who were shaped by its perseverance, we could not be prouder. That said, Manchester is far from perfect and has been making a turn in the wrong direction. We need to make Manchester a place with abundant opportunity for all people, and then our civic pride will grow. Manchester has to be a place where our youth want to stay and live here. It is hard to have pride in a place you struggle to see a future in. That said, Manchester has immense promise and potential. It is worth fighting for.
What are your thoughts on any neighborhood specific issues in your ward as well as any plans on addressing those issues?
The condition of some of the rental properties, living conditions for those who occupy them, crime, the roads and speeding are a few issues that come to mind. If elected I will do everything in my power to address these issues.
What is your view on the main role of an Alderman?
The role of an alderman is to represent the best interests of all residents in the ward relative to the laws, policies and decisions made by the city government. An alderman provides responsive communicative constituent services while acting as a liaison between the residents of the ward and city government.